Disclaimer: I, Summer Starr, don't own Dragonball Z, and am in no way connected to that lovely establishment. My collaborator in this fic-writing experience, Deanybean, also does not own Dragonball Z, and is in not connected to them, either. That being said, neither of us are making any money off of it, and are probably going to piss off a lot of people, so even if you wanted to print this out and burn it in classic burning book style, the only one who's making any profit is the paper mill.

Warnings: Yaoi. Explicit stuff here, folks. Alternate Universe. Nothing's gonna be as ya really expect it to. Odd Pairings. Vegeta/Yamcha. 17/Trunks. Plus others to be determined. Partner switching. Heterosexual lemons, as well. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Kingdom Come ~ Prologue

The air was crisp and clean. The sky was still light, though it was very late at night. Dende smiled as he looked down at the world below. The earth truly was a blue jewel, filled with sparkling life and vibrancy. Trunks and Goten shot up over the rim of the Lookout. Behind him, he could feel Piccolo's presence, and even further back, he could hear Yamcha's shout of greeting. Turning his head slightly, he saw Krillin and Bulma running forward.

"Welcome." Dende said happily to the two grown demi-Saiyajins.

"Man, am I glad you're letting us do this," Trunks exclaimed. "You're gonna love this! New Years is THE BEST!"

"Food!" Goten shouted in cheerful abandon. "Drinks! Fun! Friends!"

"And friends!" Trunks echoed.

The three of them walked to join the rest of the group. Food was in abundant supply as Bulma and Trunks produced capsule banquets, and Mr. Popo supplied them with even more.

"Where's Gohan?" Krillin asked, realizing the powerful Son was no where to be seen.

"He's playing super-hero with Videl. And they are not being very nice to each other it seems. They no longer know how to work together," Piccolo replied from his vantage point on the rim. "Pan is at her grandmother's. Chichi is spoiling her."

"Oh, well, she is a grandma now," Krillin joked.

"Yeah, but I wouldn't tell it to her face," Yamcha laughed. Others, who heard the comment, joined in.

"And it appears that Vegeta is on a solo 'training' session," Piccolo observed. He noticed Yamcha's slight quirk of interest, as if the Human were curious about fighting styles and techniques. Piccolo knew better, though. Humans were so easy to read. Just as he knew Bulma's slight flinch and then bright smile was like that of a person who knew that they were trying to hold onto something that would never really belong to them. She then turned to the closest party attendant, who just happened to be 18, and began a conversation with her.

The aerial world around them darkened quickly. And then began the anticipated show. There were no clouds that night, so the view was unobstructed. Fireworks lit up the earthen sky like thousands of flowers blooming in rapid motion. It was nothing amazing to the crowd gathered at the Lookout, in fact, it was rather ordinary and plain. But each shimmering blossom of light and sound was something beautiful and special and was a small reminder of childish joy. Even Mr. Popo gasped in wonderment.

As the night reached late, Yamcha looked up to take stock of the food and noticed two people were curiously absent. Trunks and Goten. He caught Piccolo's eye easily, and indicated the problem. Krillin noticed their quiet departure from the somewhat noisy crowd and snuck away from the party himself.

"Hey, guys, what's up?" Krillin asked.

"Trunks and Goten are missing," Yamcha replied. "I wonder what kind of trouble they're causing. I swear, I thought they'd grow out of it when they grew up, but no!"

"I sense them. They're in the Vault," Piccolo interjected, breaking into a run. "There are a lot of very dangerous items in there. If they break anything, there could be Hell to pay. Literally."

The three warriors skidded to a halt just outside of the Vault. The door was open. Piccolo was the first in, praying that nothing had happened to the two young fighters. The New Year was almost upon them. Yamcha and Krillin were a mere step behind him.

Inside the room, the two were pulling a sheet off of a strange piece of ... something. Trunks said, as he grinned at his life-long companion, "Goten, we'll put the sheet on the ground for cushion. You know how I hate the cold."

"Trunks! Goten! STOP!" Piccolo demanded. Outside, the sky was dark with only brief flashes of fireworks and the enduring light of distant stars.

The two curious fighters, though grown, still knew that voice and turned to face it's speaker...

...just as the sheet fell

...just as Piccolo, Krillin, and Yamcha disappeared.

...just as the New Year hit.

***

Disclaimer: Neither I, Summer Starr, nor my co-author, Deani, have anything to do with Dragon Ball Z. This is a work of fanfiction of the slash variety. If thou hast any problems, I suggest thou turnest away now.

Kingdom Come ~ Chapter 01

The sun had risen against the far horizon, but shadows still claimed the Lookout. The air was cold and almost lifeless, as if the very wind was suicidally depressed. A single form flew through the air, and it was evident the Lookout was his destination. He flew in with the dawn, the sun at his back so it would not dazzle his eyes. His long mat of white hair snapped like a flag blowing in a strong gale as his form cut through the sky.

"This is ridiculous!" The armored warrior grumbled, but no one was there to listen. "No one could possibly be at those ruins, except for Trunks. Yeah, he's probably hiding out. Too bad the satellites caught movement there. I bet something fell and killed him. I bet that's why there's no reading on our scouters. This is so stupid!"

By the end of his grumbling tirade, his feet were hitting the broken tiles of the dead palace. Streaks of light were just touching the tops of broken structures, and the brown, crackling limbs from long dead trees howled as his landing caused a rough breeze. With a huff of annoyance, the short warrior scanned the place using his headset. There wasn't a reading.

"Just my luck, I get sent on this fools errand and the only thing I find are dust bunnies."

"Oh, I don't know. Don't dust bunnies make good pets?" a strange voice called out.

The warrior spun around and saw a short human male in dusty pants and a blazing red shirt. What was this? Was he asking to be a target? Just as the armored warrior was about to take aim, putting the pathetic human out of his obvious misery, another voice rang out.

"Yeah. They make excellent pets. Very low maintenance." It was another human male. This one was taller, scarred, and in yellow pants and jacket with a white shirt. Both had black hair, but they were obviously not related to each other. Even the warrior, as unskilled as he was in differentiating between humans, could see that. Obviously, they wanted to be found. Most of the humans knew enough to wear dull colors and to hide. Were they starting a new rebellion?

"Humans! I don't know how you survived the culling of your race, but it doesn't matter! By order of the Emperor of the Trans-Galactic Empire, I, Jeice of the Ginyu Force, will remedy that oversight!" The red skinned warrior said as he struck several poses. With his last stance, he added, "Time to die, Terran scum!"

"Ginyu Force?" The short one asked. "What are you doing here? Didn't Goku kill all of you?"

"I don't know any Goku, but I assure you that I am very much alive!" At which point, Jeice attacked. Or, at least, he tried to.

They were pretty well matched for height, which was a rarity in both of their cases. But as strong as Jeice was, and as fast as he was, the short human effortlessly blocked every punch, every kick, and every blast of energy thrown at him. All while seemingly not moving from where he stood on the broken tiles of the old floating ruins!! Jeice grew agitated at the continued grin on the short human's face, but nothing he did would wipe it away. It was even more disconcerting to realize that the scouter indicated that if there was a person in front of him, that person had a reading of absolute zero, which was impossible considering the force at Jeice was attacking with. When it became obvious that Jeice wasn't making any progress, he back flipped away from the still amused human.

"Who are you people?!" Jeice demanded. Irritatingly obvious, the little human hadn't even gotten the slightest bit winded.

"I'm Krillin. He's Yamcha." The short human said as he indicated first himself, and then the other human. "And the guy standing behind you is Piccolo."

"Oh, like I'm going to fall for that old trick. Nice try!" Jeice snorted.

Yamcha and Krillin shared an amused look before they both began to snicker. Jeice looked between the two in disbelief. Were they completely cracked? Did they actually expect him to turn around so that they could ambush him from behind? But. on the other hand, what if there really was someone behind him. Figuring he'd regret it later, Jeice turned around to look. He found himself at eye level with a band of blue-green cloth. Gulping slightly as he took a step back, he looked up. And up. And up. The scouter indicated that no one was standing in front of him, but Jeice did have eyes, and he could see well enough to know that this Piccolo person was trouble. He wasn't human. In fact, Jeice had no idea what he was.

"I think I finally get what you meant by 'same place, different earth,' Piccolo, but. how different can it really be?" Yamcha asked.

"Obviously, earth has been invaded." Piccolo's deep voice caused Jeice to nearly pee in his pants.

"Yeah. With no Goku around, it was a sitting duck," Krillin agreed. "Seems like earth is under the rule of this emperor. I'd say it was pretty different."

The three strangers shared a moment of silence between them, during which time Jeice tried to size them up. It seemed that the large green man, Piccolo, was their leader. Krillin was powerful, so that probably meant he was second. And that left Yamcha. The third member of this odd trio had done and said little, leaving Jeice to conclude that he must be the weakest.

"So, where do you come in?" Krillin asked, suddenly closer to the armored warrior than the attacker remembered him being.

"What?"

"Why are you here?"

"This is where the Imperial Palace is. This is where the Emperor is. This is where we belong."

"We?" Piccolo asked, or rather demanded.

Jeice was a bit put off, but if he was their leader, and the short one was a match. Jeice began to fiddle with his scouter, trying to fix it if it had been damaged somehow. "The best fighters in the universe come here, hoping for a chance to prove themselves good enough for placement in the Universe Tournament of Martial Arts. But the Emperor only picks the best."

"Really?" Yamcha asked as he looked at Jeice and then the other two. "A tournament of martial arts?"

"Hmmm, this would give us a chance to see what is going on here. And since it's obvious that they know of our presence here, it seems pointless to try and hide." Piccolo said as he hovered in the air. He turned his head, scanning the horizon. With amazing accuracy, he indicated the way to the palace. "There."

"Right!" the other two said just as they were about to take off.

"WAIT!" Jeice screeched after them. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Going to go register," Yamcha replied.

"You can't register! You have to be sponsored," Jeice spat. Didn't these idiots know anything?

"Then you'll be our sponsor," Piccolo stated, as if his word was law.

"Like hell I will! I was sent here to fight and kill you, not invite you to make a fool of me in front of the royal court! Now, FIGHT ME!!"

The three of them shared a look before the smallest resettled on the grounds of the dead complex. He put his hands in his pocket and tilted his head to the side. "Listen, there's no real need for us to fight. Why don't you take a look through your scouter and THEN decide if you still want to fight us. I promise you, it isn't broken."

Jeice narrowed his eyes as he complied. He pulled the eye piece up and began reading. Then, as if by magic, the little human's energy signal began to rise. And rise. And rise. With each passing heartbeat, Jeice's world cracked a little bit more. And then the scouter broke. Jeice cried out in shock as he took a frightened step back. "This. This can't be real!"

"So, do you still want to fight?" Krillin asked dryly.

"N-no. Not really."

"Good!" Krillin smiled. "In that case, take us to your leader!"

***

Dark eyes scanned the main room. Without bothering to look, the guard knew that blue eyes were watching him and everything else in the room. There was a crowd growing, but that was to be expected after Jeice's last transmission. He was bringing some HUMAN fighters to enter the tournament! The Emperor was going to be here soon, probably to torment the red-skinned warrior. Burter was not pleased by the idea that his best friend was going to be humiliated, but there was nothing to be done about it.

The dark blue amphibious warrior turned his head to acknowledge the entrance of Recoom and Guldo. "He's almost here. Do you read the three small readings traveling with him? I'm surprised they can fly."

"What do you think Jeice was thinking?" Guldo spat disgustedly. "Did they grab him by the balls and force him?"

"You'd have to ask the Palace Ghost about things like that," Recoom snorted causing several within earshot to break out in menacing snickers.

"He's going to shame us all," Guldo muttered, un-amused.

Soon enough, Jeice arrived with his three prospects. The three other members of the Ginyu Force looked on with somewhat blank faces. With wary glances all around, Jeice walked towards the front of the room. The two humans were unabashedly gawking at everything, but the tall green man with the turban and cape simply walked forward, confident, observing without making a spectacle.

"So, these are the guys you wanted to bring in front of the Emperor?" Recoom sneered.

"Yes," Jeice shrugged, obviously uncomfortable.

"They don't look that tough to me," Recoom continued.

Burter was known for his speed, and he knew what was coming, but even he almost missed it. Recoom's least powerful attack shot through the air with dazzling speed.

And was caught! Effortlessly!

The large green man smirked as he sent the blast racing back to its creator. Recoom took the hit full force in the center of his chest forcing the large man to fall back a step.

"Things are not always as they appear." The deep voice of the green warrior practically vibrated through the room.

"Obviously," a new voice rang out in the room.

Everyone, save for the three newcomers, immediately bowed. Their voices rang out in desperate awe, "All hail the Emperor! Lord Kakarrot!"

Kakarrot grinned feral at the stunned expressions on the three strangers' faces. He wore a luxurious red and gold uniform, sans his needless armor. His long brown tail curled up behind him, free and confident in the knowledge that no one would dare touch it. His black spikes were captured in a wide, crown-like band of red cloth that matched his belt and shoes, strangely reminiscent of the color of fresh spilt blood. Over one eye, he wore a standardized scouter, as did all of his people. Close on his heels were his two personal guards, his two sons, and other Ginyu. Trailing a bit further behind them, but looking no different than any of the Ginyu, was Vegeta.

"So, Jeice, these are the ones you want to sponsor in the tournament? I must say I'm beginning to doubt your sanity on many levels," Lord Kakarrot asked with a sneer. He was unimpressed by the new comers, yet that did not leave him closed to new ideas.

"My Lord and Emperor, I assure you they are very worthy to enter the contest," Jeice said as he continued to look at the ground.

The others took even more of a serious look at the three strange warriors even as they returned the appraisal.

Gohan wore a simple guard's uniform, the only indication of his rank being the royal emblem on his chest plate. His brown tail was also curled up behind him, but he had positioned himself so that no one would have the opportunity to grab it. His eyes raked over each of the newcomers carefully, his head held high and disdainfully. As head of the Imperial Guard, Gohan was supposed to assess the likelihood of danger. and he found it lacking in the two humans. The other one, however... Something was there that was of great interest to the demi-Saiyajin. He ran a hand through his short black spikes arrogantly, almost posing as he felt the tall, strange warrior's gaze size him up.

"Jeice, all of our scouters indicate their power levels are not high enough to even survive the first round of the event. How would it look if your first, and only, referrals were to die before they ever got a chance to win you any honor?" Kakarrot asked, not really expecting an answer.

Piccolo surprised everyone by taking a step forward, and speaking up for the smaller alien man. "Sometimes, it's the things you least expect that strike you down in the midst of battle."

"Is that a challenge, green man?" Kakarrot said, licking his lips in hopeful anticipation of a fight.

17 stood behind and to the side of the Emperor, his smooth black hair tied in a ponytail and his black guard's uniform almost glistening in its pristine cleanliness. His glacial blue eyes scanned the trio with what amounted to disinterest, though nothing could be more false. He was Kakarrot's personal guard, and there was nothing that he missed. Not even the blue eyes watching them all from afar.

"Is it so undesirable for you to imagine that strength exists outside of your ranks?" Piccolo asked coldly, his eyes narrowing.

Yamcha had to cut in, knowing that this was going to get them killed, and he'd rather live to find a way back home. "Uh, we mean no offense, your majesty. If you find us lacking in ability, then we'd be just as happy to watch the tournament, maybe... uh... from... the Ginyu... box?"

18 stood close to her brother, her blond hair falling free to frame her face. Her black uniform showed off her feminine figure beautifully, but left nothing unprotected. As her gaze drifted over the strange humans, she caught the smallest one staring at her the hardest before he blushed and turned his eyes away.

18 didn't miss him leaning ever so slightly over to his scarred companion and whisper encouragingly and with the smallest trace of relief, "Very nice."

Vegeta, the once Prince of all Saiyajins but now nothing more than a glorified prisoner, scowled deeply as he scrutinized each of the Terrans. The short one met then immediately averted his eyes, while the green one did not waver in his. The middle one -- the one with all of the scars -- wasn't even looking at him, but more at the ground. As if he felt Vegeta's stare, he glanced up suddenly, his eyes connecting with the former prince's. Vegeta's tail tightened around his waist when he realized a spark of recognition had lit in the human's orbs. Then the man gave him the slightest of smiles. Vegeta hadn't had a smile directed at him since he was very little, and he was a bit taken aback by the action. Further confusion set in when the scarred man quickly looked away, his cheeks darkened in a light blush. The former prince turned away from the human then, somewhat disturbed by the sudden feel of something long thought dead inside of him trying to stir back to life.

"Let us not delay on this topic, one of you may fight in honor of Jeice's original offer, but the rest of you must remain out of the tournament... you may consider yourself 'guests' here. I prefer my sports to last longer than what one might consider their last heartbeats. There, that ends this trite discussion," Lord Kakarrot said, dismissing the newcomers with a wave of his hand.

Goten stood off to the side. His place was not needed outside of the dungeons, but when the call came in that Jeice had found a group of Terrans he wanted to sponsor in the tournament, his curiosity was piqued. Goten couldn't remember ever seeing a human warrior before, most had been killed in the purging of the planet long ago, leaving only the females as mostly breeding stock. His black uniform hugged his body just as his tail did. Dark eyes remained fixated on the tall green warrior, sometimes glancing at whoever was the object of his assessment. Goten didn't even notice the quick exchange between Yamcha and Vegeta, his eyes only fixating on that slight frown of disapproval washing over and then away from the caped warrior's face as he looked at Gohan. Could it be? Someone as seemingly intelligent as this warrior was not impressed by the golden heir, Gohan?

Goten checked his scouter. Again. None of the trio had any energy signatures, not even the tall one. Goten was still puzzling this over as the object of his concern turned to look at him. Once he was caught in the penetrating stare, Goten forgot how to breathe. He felt as if he were not only naked standing in the middle of court, but that the strange warrior saw more than just his bare body. As if his soul was laid out and was being dissected. and found lacking, if the other's expression was any indication. When the eye contact was broken, Goten found himself flushing enough to match his father's crown.

Gohan stepped forward then, looking at the trio, "And do these... guests... have names?"

"I am Piccolo," Piccolo said. Tilting his head to the side, he added his former title as well, "The Demon Lord."

"I'm Krillin. I'm a monk. Or, I was a monk," Krillin said, his eyes sliding ever so briefly to 18, almost regretfully before he looked at the ground again.

"I'm Yamcha." The scarred warrior considered for a minute if he should add anything to that. Sure, he was once called 'the Desert Bandit', but he wasn't about to admit he'd been a thief while in a palace full of not-so- friendly people. "Just... Yamcha. I... don't have a title."

"Perhaps, My Lord," Gohan continued, a slight smile dancing across his otherwise severe expression, "our guests might require someone to ... accompany them during their stay. Just so that they DO, indeed, make it to see the tournament."

"I agree," Kakarrot said as his eyes appraised the Terrans again. The tall green one was obviously someone who might challenge him, so his guard was automatically selected. With a cruel smirk, he turned his attention back to Jeice who had yet to rise from his position. "Jeice, who would YOU suggest guard these ... guests?"

"Your three strongest guards, my Lord," answered Jeice more quickly than Kakarrot would have liked. "Their strength is not inconsequential. However, this is only my opinion as your humble servant, my Lord."

"Wise words from a silly guard," Kakarrot nodded, "But I think not. I don't suppose anyone would care to volunteer?"

"Or perhaps," he added, the sneer returning to his face, "our guests would like to choose their own guards from our ranks."

"My Lord," 17 said quietly, his voice empty of everything, "I would like to volunteer to watch our Demon Lord Piccolo."

"Truly, 17?"

"Yes. It may prove... entertaining."

"As you wish," Lord Kakarrot allowed, knowing that the synthetic man was one of his best fighters. He was left regretting the loss of a good sparring partner, for it would be impossible to recall him after the android had volunteered, though he did not regret the loss of an annoying shadow that followed him around. Why did his guards do that, anyway? It wasn't like there was anything in the universe that could truly hurt him, other than his sons, but that was a day in the far distant future. "Does anyone else wish to volunteer?"

When no one did, Krillin looked at Yamcha and made a slight, almost imperceptible shrug. Then, he turned to the contorted face of one of his best and oldest friends and said, "Your majesty, highness, uh, Lord Kakarrot, if it won't be too much of a burden, could I request the pretty lady standing behind you to be my guard?"

"Why not?" smirked the royal. Another shadow transferred to someone else. "Why not, indeed? 18, if you don't mind..."

"Of course not, your majesty," 18 said coolly, her voice almost as emotionless as her brother's, though hers held the slightest razor's edge of contempt. "I don't mind at all."

Yamcha chewed lightly on his tongue. He knew precisely who he wanted to choose, but choosing Vegeta didn't seem like such an obvious choice as singling out the solitary female in their midst, as Krillin did. His eyes flitted from face to face, unsure of his move, but finally, they settled on the short saiyajin once again. Lifting his arm and pointing, he quietly uttered a single word. "Him."

Vegeta closed his eyes in embarrassment. He was now forced to this? To guarding pitiful humans? There was a stir in the gathered crowd as the others began to gossip about the chosen guard assignments. The others could understand why 17 had volunteered, none had missed the underlying threat in Piccolo's earlier statements. 18 was a good soldier, and one who enjoyed playing with the men who thought she was merely pretty, not acknowledging her deadly combative skills until it was too late. But Vegeta knew that the other guards laughed at how far he, Prince of All Saiyajins, had fallen.

But none laughed louder than the emperor. The grin that would have lit up Goku's face instead twisted Kakarrot's into something unnatural. "You have chosen well, human," he chuckled. "Your choice pleases me. Vegeta will be your guard."